Monsoon Wedding

Monsoon Wedding

Monsoon Wedding

Book by Sabrina Dhawan
Music by Vishal Bhardwaj
Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead
Directed by Mira Nair
Main Season · Roda Theatre
May 5–July 16, 2017
World premiere

Running time: approximately 2 hours, plus one 15-minute intermission.

You’re invited to the wedding of the season! Award-winning film director Mira Nair brings her exuberant and sumptuous Monsoon Wedding to Berkeley Rep’s stage in this highly anticipated world premiere musical. The perfect storm starts brewing when family members from around the world descend on Delhi for a nonstop four-day celebration of an arranged marriage between a modern upper-middle-class Indian family’s only daughter and an Indian-American guy she’s never met. But the bride is having an affair, her father’s financial troubles deepen, and dark family secrets surface. The forecast calls for drama, love, hope, laughs, and a whole lot of rain.

Creative team

Mira Nair · Director
Sabrina Dhawan · Book
Vishal Bhardwaj · Composer / Arrangements
Susan Birkenhead · Lyricist
Lorin Latarro · Choreographer
Carmel Dean · Music Supervisor / Arrangements
Mayukh Sarkar · Arrangements
Greg Kenna · Music Director
Mike Brun · Co-Orchestrator
Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams · Scenic Design
Arjun Bhasin · Costume Design
Donald Holder · Lighting Design
Scott Lehrer · Sound Design
Peter Nigrini · Projection Design
Gregg Curtis · Aerial Design
Arpita Mukherjee · Dramaturg / Assistant Director
Cindy Tolan and Adam Caldwell · Casting
Michael Suenkel · Stage Manager
Karen Szpaller · Assistant Stage Manager
Garrett Rollins · Assistant Stage Manager
Libby Stadstad · Assistant Scenic Designer
Chika Shimizu · Assistant Scenic Designer
G. Warren Stiles · Assistant Scenic Designer
China Lee · Assistant Costume Designer
Urmila Motwani · Assistant Costume Designer
Molly Houlahan · Assistant to Ms. Nair
Namita Kapoor · Associate Choreographer
Yuki Nakase · Associate Lighting Designer
Robert Figueira · Associate Projection Designer
Will Pickens · Associate Sound Designer
C. Andrew Bauer · Projection Editor
Nandini Shrikent · Additional Casting
Stephanie Gorin · Additional Casting
Nicholas Petrovich · Casting Associate
Sarna Lapine · Creative Consultant
Jessica Berman · Dialect Coach
David Aaron Brown · Music Assistant
Victoria Northridge · Studio Teacher


Monsoon Bissell · Shashi Chawla
Meetu Chilana · Grandmother
Emielyn D. Das · Aliya Chawla
Namit Das · PK Dubey
Sharvari Deshpande · Ria Verma
Palomi Ghosh · Vijaya / Naani
Rohan Gupta · Varun Verma
Jaaved Jaaferi · Lalit Verma
Dani Jazzar · Swing
Mahira Kakkar · Pimmi Verma
Namita Kapoor · Swing
Krystal Kiran · Saroj Rai
Michael Maliakel · Hemant Rai
Ali Momen · Vikram / Congress
Anisha Nagarajan · Alice
Andrew Prashad · Mohan Rai / Tameesuddin
Alok Tewari · Tej
Levin Valayil · Lottery
Kuhoo Verma · Aditi Verma
Sorab Wadia · CL Chawla


Greg Kenna · Conductor / Keyboards
Russ Gold · Drums
Schuyler McFadden · Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Sascha Jacobsen · Acoustic and Electric Bass
Scott Englebright · Trumpet
Ryan Black · Trombone / Tuba
Deep Singh · Dhol / Dholak / Tabla / Daf / Percussion
Aharon Wheels Bolsta · Contractor
Kevin Porter · Contractor
JoAnn Kane Music / Russell Bartmus · Copyist
Alex Jackson · Copyist

One of the primal joys of live theater, after all, is spectacle, the way it can transcend mere work of art and become a lavish event. At the giant transcontinental wedding of Aditi and Hemant, who meet and must reconcile their worldviews and expectations all within days before they wed, you’re not just voyeur but co-conspirator…As Hemant, [Michael] Maliakel has a baritone so tender that your eyes well as if by involuntary muscle trigger. As the servant Alice, Anisha Nagarajan trills bewitchingly among microtones. And as Aditi’s troubled cousin Ria, Sharvari Deshpande has the pure but weathered tone of a young Joni Mitchell.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Over and over, Nair demonstrates how familial love takes conflict and turns it into a raucous good time…A bracing vision of the complexity of being alive to other people…A unique and stunning statement of joy, an embrace of the moment when these characters, in big and small ways, let it go and just take on the reckless abandon of fun. When you realize that this can only happen with the love of family, abandoning their own interests for those who’ve been entrusted to their care, you’ll never listen to a father and a mother, a brother and a sister, or an uncle and a niece sing together in quite the same way.”


If Monsoon Wedding the film aimed to offer a more realistic version of a Bollywood fantasy, the stage musical returns the material to a heightened realm. As Ms. Nair pointed out, it is a natural fit for musical theater—the story ‘has music in its bones,’ she effused—but she has at her side collaborators, including Ms. Dhawan, who are unlikely to turn it into a frothy confection.”

New York Times

In telling a story about the marriage of an arranged Indian American groom and an Indian bride, Monsoon has a new transcultural relevance in a polarized 2017. The time of the musical has been updated to the present day. ‘In addressing the complexity and fun and sometimes the tyranny of tradition,’ said Nair, ‘the show takes on this whole idea that’s taken root about “us” and “the other.” Actually, there is no other. We’re all in this together.’”

San Francisco Chronicle

A swirling typhoon of sound and color…There’s a sweetness and lightness to the production that’s intoxicating…Vishal Bhardwaj’s infectious score and bewitching choreography by Lorin Latarro (Waitress) invoke traditional tropes while embracing the pulse of the now. Arjun Bhasin’s costumes, a shimmering sea of silk and sequins in saffron hues, never cease to dazzle the eye…The most poignant number of the night is a reverie from Dubey’s grandmother Naani (a tender turn by Palomi Ghosh) reliving the horrors of Partition, when Britain divided India and created Pakistan, in a song, ‘Love is Love,’ that deepens the musical with a sense of history and context.”

Mercury News / Bay Area News Group

Monsoon Wedding delivers on high hopes…A triumphant celebration…Without question, and unsurprisingly, Monsoon Wedding’s greatest moments come in song. (Music for the show was written by Vishal Bhardwaj, with lyrics by Susan Birkenhead.) My favorite was ‘Goddess of the Light,’ a duet between PK Dubey (played by Namit Das, a veteran Indian TV actor) and Alice (Anisha Nagarajan), a seductive and dreamlike candlelit interlude between otherwise raucous and celebratory numbers…Monsoon Wedding ultimately passes the most crucial test of any Indian wedding: It’s heavy on the masti—the Hindu word for ‘indubitable fun.’”

San Francisco Magazine

‘We have embraced full-on the complexity of today’s world,’ continues [Mira Nair] the director of the 2001 arthouse hit Monsoon Wedding. ‘When the film came out, it was almost the first portrait of globalization that people outside India had seen. Now, in the time of Trump, the doors are literally closing between borders. What we are bringing to you in Monsoon Wedding, the play, is a portrait of two things: an India that is complicatedly becoming a sort of real power, but also a portrait of America, since half our story is about America—an America that may not even let us in.’”

Hollywood Reporter

Watch now

“If we won’t tell our stories, who will?”

Delve deeper into Monsoon Wedding with director Mira Nair, composer Vishal Bhardwaj, and lyricist Susan Birkenhead.

Official trailer: Monsoon Wedding

Get a sneak peek of the new hit musical from director Mira Nair!

Behind the scenes: Choreography

Choreographer Lorin Latarro shares her thoughts on creating dance for Monsoon Wedding.

“I loved it!”

Audiences are swooning for Monsoon Wedding!

Behind the scenes: Director Mira Nair

Peek at early rehearsals for Monsoon Wedding, and hear Mira Nair’s thoughts on bringing her film to the stage.

See photos

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Photos courtesy of Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

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